I got the idea for this post when this clip from Field of Dreams came to mind.
It’s peace they lack. They’ll watch the game and it’ll be as if they dipped themselves into magic waters. It reminds us of all that was once good and it could be again.
The amount of beauty in those words is very moving.
As a society in this country, we need sports.
I realize not everyone likes sports. And not everyone likes the same sports. Some of you may not enjoy baseball as much as football or basketball. We certainly don’t cover all three sports to the same degree (spoiler: the answer is in the views).
Sports are embedded in our country’s everyday life. Terms which derived from sports are now part of our everyday lexicon. Drop the ball, having someone in your corner, punt, saved by the bell, slam-dunk, home run, take a dive, throw in the towel, down to the wire, and more all get their start from sports.
Millions of people gather every year at stadiums across the nation. There are countless Super Bowl parties, Fantasy Football leagues, and March Madness brackets put together annually. According to a poll from Harvard, 73% of the country played some kind of sport at one time in their life growing up. All that to say, sports are an important part of the American culture.
But why do we need them?
Sports are relational.
“Where were you when (insert big sports moment here)?”
Watching a game with a group of people allow a natural conversation about a common experience between all of them. Discussing news about sports and asking someone what teams they support are often questions that come up while people are getting to know one another.
Sports provide another dimension for knowing each other. Watching games, whether in person, out on TV, or together in a house, make an event for people to come together and bond over.
Sports have launched careers, websites, blogs (like this one), and discussions over social media because we love to talk sports with other people, even people we don’t know in person. This makes me think of this commercial about talking sports the “right” way.
They let us escape.
Sometimes life gets difficult, and we need a break.
Like a concert or movie or book, sports allow us to venture into another world for a few hours. Not a world where everything works out all the time. But a world with more control, with rules and order and a sense of familiarity.
Humans need something to escape to in order to recharge from the stressors of the world. Sports are one channel to do that. They allow us to experience emotions of all kinds in direct and tangible ways. They give us the opportunity to take the focus off of our lives and off of ourselves and detach from things for a finite amount of time.
They inspire us to be better.
Professional athletes are the best of us in the physical sense. By watching sports, we are allowed to see the biggest, fastest, strongest men, and women of our generation. The most accurate shooters in basketball, the best home run hitters in baseball, the fastest runners in football. Those athletes remind us that we too can work hard to be among the best at whatever area our talent lies in.
There is a reason sports movies are so beloved by many. When the Titans finish their dream season undefeated and unite a town. When the underdog Hoosiers win the state title against all odds. When Wild Thing, Willie Mays Hayes, and Jake Taylor do something no one believed they could do by beating the dreaded Yankees. Those movies teach us to value relationships with those who are different than us and that we too can overcome things in our lives when it seems impossible to do so.
We are better versions of ourselves with sports in our lives. They give us something to talk about, give us a chance to escape, and show us what some of the best parts our ourselves look like
Hurry back to us sports. We don’t know what to do without you.